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Meghan Markle embraced charity worker in Edinburgh
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Meghan Markle embraced charity worker in Edinburgh

It is not custom for the royal family to embrace members of the public, however Prince Harry's fiance Meghan Markle did away with tradition as she shared an 'emotional' hug with a charity worker on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old joined her husband-to-be in Edinburgh today where the pair paid a visit to the Social Bite centre, a Scottish charity for the homeless.

While she was there she met with the charity's co-founder Alice Thompson who told the bride-to-be that she had been 'deeply inspired' by her speech made at the UN Women conference in 2015.

The speech given by Meghan saw the former actress discuss female empowerment where she discussed tracing her feminism back to when she was 11 after becoming tired of women in the media represented 'in the kitchen.'  

After hearing Alice's praise Meghan was pictured giving the charity worker a warm embrace after being 'clearly touched' by the woman's comments.

Meghan Markle stepped away from royal custom when she embraced charity worker Alice Thompson during her visit to Edinburgh on Tuesday

Meghan Markle stepped away from royal custom when she embraced charity worker Alice Thompson during her visit to Edinburgh on Tuesday

The bride-to-be hugged the co-founder of homeless charity Social Bite after she revealed she had been inspired by Meghan's 2015 UN Women's speech 

The bride-to-be hugged the co-founder of homeless charity Social Bite after she revealed she had been inspired by Meghan's 2015 UN Women's speech 

Journalist Omid Scobie, who had been at the scene tweeted: 'Meghan shared a special moment with @SocialBite_ co-founder @AliceThommo, who admitted she had been deeply inspired by her 2015 @UN_Women speech. Clearly touched (and a little emotional), Meghan embraced her in a hug.'

Local university student, Phoebe Libbish later tweeted a picture of the pair commenting 'Love this photo' to which Alice responded 'safe to say I love it too'. 

Prince Harry appeared to be feeling equally friendly during his visit today – reserving praise for one well-wisher.

The 33-year-old royal complimented a red-haired hipster in the crowd during the walkabout on the couple's first official visit to Scotland, pointing at him before saying: 'Love your beard, well done!'

Meghan also revealed to onlookers that her hen do is all planned, although she does not know what it is. She told well-wishers in Edinburgh that it is 'sorted', although party-loving Harry isn't quite as prepared. 

Alice (pictured) said that she 'loved' the photo after it was shared on Twitter by a local university student 

Alice (pictured) said that she 'loved' the photo after it was shared on Twitter by a local university student 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit the Social Bite social enterprise, which distributes 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to homeless people across Scotland each year

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit the Social Bite social enterprise, which distributes 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to homeless people across Scotland each year

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Prince Harry (left) complimented a red-haired hipster (far right) in the crowd during his walkabout in Edinburgh today

Prince Harry (left) complimented a red-haired hipster (far right) in the crowd during his walkabout in Edinburgh today

The 33-year-old royal pointed at the man in the crowd in Edinburgh today, before saying: 'Love your beard, well done!' The exchange was captured on camera

The 33-year-old royal pointed at the man in the crowd in Edinburgh today, before saying: 'Love your beard, well done!'

Prince Harry received a rapturous welcome in Edinburgh todya – but also reserved praise for the red-haired man

Prince Harry received a rapturous welcome in Edinburgh todya – but also reserved praise for the red-haired man

'We asked them what they were doing for their stag and hen dos,' said Tom Martin, 30, who was visiting Edinburgh from London with Francesca Short, 27. 'Meghan said 'I'm not sure - it's sorted but it will be fun.' Harry said he didn't know. I'm sure William's got something up his sleeve.'

Ms Short added: 'They seem really nice, happy and relaxed. She seemed to take it all in her stride.' And Mr Martin said, 'She was introducing herself with 'Hi, I'm Meghan' as if no-one knew who she was.'

They were standing with au pair Josefine Hess, 28, an au pair from Germany - who stood out in a bright jacket. 'Harry said I was very clever for wearing a pink jacket,' she said. 

'They were very confident together.' Meghan said to one group: 'Thank you for waiting in the cold for us. It's chilly.'

The couple ended the day at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they met the First Minister during a reception to celebrate the achievements of young people in Edinburgh

The couple ended the day at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they met the First Minister during a reception to celebrate the achievements of young people in Edinburgh

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We're counting down the days until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. It's under 100 now!

Everyone is excited to see what the bride-to-be will wear on the big day, but for now she's keeping us ticking over style-wise thanks to a visit to Edinburgh.

It's their fourth official engagement, and Meghan has definitely mastered the art of looking sophisticated whilst keeping the cold at bay. This time she gave a nod to her hosts by wearing a tartan coat (of course!), which is by Burberry. We love the smart double breasted design as well as the warm wool and cashmere blend fabric. The subtle blue and green print is the perfect way to update your winter wardrobe so click (right) to buy it at NET-A-PORTER.

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Harry and Meghan meet Cruachan IV, the regimental mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, outside Edinburgh Castle

Harry and Meghan meet Cruachan IV, the regimental mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, outside Edinburgh Castle

Harry and Meghan appeared to be delighted to meet Cruachan IV - and its very impressive hair - outside Edinburgh Castle

Harry and Meghan appeared to be delighted to meet Cruachan IV - and its very impressive hair - outside Edinburgh Castle

Harry and Meghan smile next to Cruachan IV as they make their first visit to the Scottish capital together today

Harry and Meghan smile next to Cruachan IV as they make their first visit to the Scottish capital together today

Harry and Meghan meet the pony as they go on a walkabout outside Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital today

Harry and Meghan meet the pony as they go on a walkabout outside Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital today

Harry and Meghan meet Pony Major Mark Wilkinson and regimental mascot Cruachan IV today

Harry and Meghan meet Pony Major Mark Wilkinson and regimental mascot Cruachan IV today

Pony Major Wilkinson introduced Meghan and Harry to Cruachan IV, the mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland

Pony Major Wilkinson introduced Meghan and Harry to Cruachan IV, the mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland

The nine-year-old pony famously tried to eat the Queen's posy once but was on slightly better behaviour for the couple

The nine-year-old pony famously tried to eat the Queen's posy once but was on slightly better behaviour for the couple

Harry and Meghan laugh with each other as they meet Pony Major Mark Wilkinson at Edinburgh Castle today

Harry and Meghan laugh with each other as they meet Pony Major Mark Wilkinson at Edinburgh Castle today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile as they meet well-wishers outside Edinburgh Castle on their visit to Scotland today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile as they meet well-wishers outside Edinburgh Castle on their visit to Scotland today

Harry insists work done by homeless cafe must be made UK-wide

Prince Harry said work done by a cafe supporting homeless people 'needs to be across the UK as soon as possible'.

Harry and Meghan were at Social Bite in Edinburgh to meet those who use and work with the organisation.

Co-founder Josh Littlejohn said they aim to get people off the streets by giving them employment and helping them find their own accommodation.

Harry said: 'When are you bringing this down south? When you've proved it really works, it needs to be across the UK as soon as possible.'

Speaking afterwards, Mr Littlejohn said they were willing to share what they have learned with other organisations to tackle the issue elsewhere.

But he said Social Bite's focus was on eradicating homelessness in Scotland first. He said: 'If we can make real inroads, there's no reason we can't pass that on down south.'

Harry and Meghan spoke with the organisation's volunteers, customers and also staff who have been affected by homelessness.

It comes as it emerged the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead could fine rough sleepers up to £100 for begging or leaving their bedding in public places.

The council came under fierce criticism last month when council leader Simon Dudley said the number of rough sleepers would put Windsor in a 'sadly unfavourable light' when it hosts the royal wedding in May.

Simon Dudley survived a vote of no confidence, and now the council is preparing a consultation to try to get the borough's 14 or so long-term rough sleepers off the streets.

Pony Major Mark Wilkinson introduced Meghan and Harry to Cruachan IV, a Shetland pony, at the end of their walkabout where they received flowers, posed for pictures and sympathised about the cold conditions.

The nine-year-old pony - the mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland - famously tried to eat the Queen's posy during the monarch's visit to Stirling Castle - and this time startled away Harry. 

He seemed intent on nibbling Harry's fingers for a treat. Pony Major Mark Wilkinson said: 'They were asking about him saying he's a wee star, he knows he's on parade and is showing off - they said it was lovely to meet him.'

Meghan - who wore a £2,000 Burberry tartan coat, matching that worn by the pony, with trousers by Veronica Beard - was handed an early Valentine's gift on a heart from a young admirer as the couple delighted royal fans. 

One amorous male well-wisher gave Ms Markle a bunch of roses and told her 'Don't marry Harry, marry me' as she and Harry greeted crowds on the castle's esplanade.

Ryan Davey, 32, had his six-year-old daughter Hannah perched on his shoulders so she could get a better look at the couple as they passed by. He said: 'We've come up from Durham to see them, this is the nearest place for us but it's been worth it.' 

Hundreds of well-wishers had braved the conditions to stake the best place to spot the royal couple on the esplanade outside Edinburgh Castle this morning, despite the cold and wet weather.

With the centuries-old fortress as a backdrop the couple began shaking hands, saying hello and thanking the well-wishers for coming to see them. Harry and Meghan were also both given gifts by young fans.

Harry and Ms Markle joined Sergeant Dave Beveridge, District Gunner, Royal Artillery for the firing of the One O'Clock Gun. They were given ear defenders before standing behind the gun which dates back to 1861. 

The couple also chatted to cadets and took in views across the city, before briefly waving to the crowds as they departed. 

Harry and Meghan later arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in their final public engagement on their visit to Edinburgh.

The couple were attending a reception to celebrate youth achievements as part of Scotland's Year of Young People 2018. Crowds lined the approach to the palace as the royal couple arrived. 

Ben Mason, nine, and the First Minister's mentee Charlotte Liddell, 21, took the royal couple around the reception for the Year of Young People 2018.

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Harry and Meghan smile during their visit to the Social Bite social enterprise cafe in Edinburgh today

Harry and Meghan smile during their visit to the Social Bite social enterprise cafe in Edinburgh today

The cafe offers work to those without their own accommodation as part of efforts to end the homelessness issue in Scotland 

The cafe offers work to those without their own accommodation as part of efforts to end the homelessness issue in Scotland 

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Harry and Meghan were welcomed at the sandwich shop in the Scottish capital which supports homeless people

Harry and Meghan were welcomed at the sandwich shop in the Scottish capital which supports homeless people

Prince Harry and his American fiancee attend a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyrood House Prince Harry and his American fiancee attend a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyrood House

Prince Harry and his American fiancee attend a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyrood House

The couple attended a reception to celebrate youth achievements as part of Scotland's Year of Young People 2018

The couple attended a reception to celebrate youth achievements as part of Scotland's Year of Young People 2018

Harry and Meghan went to the Palace of Holyrood House for their final public engagement 

Harry and Meghan went to the Palace of Holyrood House for their final public engagement 

Harry and his bride-to-be went inside Edinburgh Castle today to watch as the One O'clock Gun was fired

Harry and his bride-to-be went inside Edinburgh Castle today to watch as the One O'clock Gun was fired

The couple were given ear defenders at Edinburgh Castle before standing behind the gun which dates back to 1861.

The couple were given ear defenders at Edinburgh Castle before standing behind the gun which dates back to 1861.

Meghan paid tribute to her Scottish hosts by wearing a tartan coat by Burberry, a long, navy blue and dark green wool and cashmere-blend said to cost £1,995

Meghan paid tribute to her Scottish hosts by wearing a tartan coat by Burberry, a long, navy blue and dark green wool and cashmere-blend said to cost £1,995

Harry and Meghan greet the crowds during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Harry and Meghan greet the crowds during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Meghan and Harry were greeted by Frank Ross, Edinburgh's Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost, who represented the city

Meghan and Harry were greeted by Frank Ross, Edinburgh's Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost, who represented the city

Harry and Meghan at Edinburgh Castle Meghan puts her hand on Harry's back

Harry and Meghan arrive at Edinburgh Castle (left) as she puts her hand on her fiance's back as they speak to the crowds

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also in attendance as Harry and Meghan spoke to representatives from youth groups and charities on the final public engagement of their Edinburgh visit. 

Sarah Coronado, 28, a masters student from Mexico studying at Edinburgh University, was one of the first well-wishers to arrive at the castle's esplanade.

She said: 'Seeing the couple is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We don't have these visits in Mexico or my hometown of Monterey.

'They are also the hot couple of the moment because of their marriage coming up. I also think Meghan is a role model, she's not just a pretty face. I think she's going to change the face of the monarchy.' 

The fashionable Markle wore a tartan coat by Burberry to honour the plaid for which Scotland is know The fashionable Markle wore a tartan coat by Burberry to honour the plaid for which Scotland is know

The fashionable Markle wore a tartan coat by Burberry to honour the plaid for which Scotland is know

The visit was the couple's fourth official engagement together as Harry introduces Meghan to various parts of Britain

The visit was the couple's fourth official engagement together as Harry introduces Meghan to various parts of Britain

Harry and Meghan smile as they arrive at Edinburgh Castle at lunchtime today for their first official joint visit to Scotland

Harry and Meghan smile as they arrive at Edinburgh Castle at lunchtime today for their first official joint visit to Scotland

Meghan looks at the gifts she has been given by admirers during the walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Meghan looks at the gifts she has been given by admirers during the walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Meghan stretches out her hand to meet that of a young boy as she meets people outside Edinburgh Castle

Meghan stretches out her hand to meet that of a young boy as she meets people outside Edinburgh Castle

Harry holds his jacket as he meets well-wishers Harry puts both thumbs up to a royal fan

Harry holds his jacket as he meets well-wishers (left) and puts both thumbs up to a royal fan (right)

Meghan puts her hand on Harry's back as they meet members of the crowd after arriving for a visit to Edinburgh today

Meghan puts her hand on Harry's back as they meet members of the crowd after arriving for a visit to Edinburgh today

Ashley Torres, 25, a law student at Edinburgh University, had brought a bunch of tulips for the couple.

How Meghan Markle wore Black Watch tartan for her Scots trip

Meghan was wearing a £1,995 Burberry coat with the official tartan of Black Watch, the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The choice was not only a nod to her being in Scotland, but also that her future father-in-law Prince Charles is Royal Colonel of the battalion.

The Black Watch tartan was said to have been initially used by the Independent Companies who policed the Highlands under General Wade.

They were formed in 1725 and later became the Black Watch in 1739.

The material is also the same tartan as the Campbell clan tartan, but it is now  'universal' and can be worn by anyone with no tartan or clan connections.

She said: 'I bought these last night, I don't mind if Meghan or Harry takes them. It's such a cute love story ... being set up by mutual friends. And it will be nice to see an American part of the British monarchy.'

Friends Maggie Binnie, 29 and Alice McCourt, 23, both Scottish students, had staked a place on the esplanade against the crash barriers and waved Union flags featuring a picture of the prince and his fiancee.

Ms Binnie said: 'I really do admire Meghan, she's got a good head on her shoulders and I also admire Harry for the mental health work he does and his work with military veterans.'

Carolyn Chisholm, 43, from Airdrie, gave her some heart-shaped potato scones from the bakery she runs with her husband, and a favour of artificial flowers from her wedding 17 years ago. I just thought for Valentine's the scones were a wee gift of Scottishness.'

Her mother had the mildest complaint, however. 'She gave them to her aide, saying they were scones,' said Lynda Clark, 70 – pronouncing the word to rhyme with 'Gone'. She added: 'The correct pronunciation is 'Scone' – to rhyme with bone.

Thea Ward, nine, came all the way from Preston with her mother Danielle, 35, and brought with her a fluffy white dog to give Ms Markle. Harry, however, got there first. 'He said, was it for me?' said Mrs Ward. 'Diplomatically, she said 'Both of you.'

Maya Moss, 22, from Sweden, who is studying law at the university, said: 'She said she was freezing. She told someone, 'You're cold too.'

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Meghan looks emotional as she meets royal well-wishers outside Edinburgh Castle with Harry today

Meghan looks emotional as she meets royal well-wishers outside Edinburgh Castle with Harry today

Meghan holds a small cuddly toy after being presented with it in Edinburgh Meghan shakes the hand of a well-wisher

Meghan holds a small cuddly toy after being presented with it in Edinburgh (left) and shakes the hand of a well-wisher (right)

The American actress paid tribute to her Scottish hosts by wearing a Burberry coat featuring a design very similar to the famous Black Watch tartan

The American actress paid tribute to her Scottish hosts by wearing a Burberry coat featuring a design very similar to the famous Black Watch tartan

Meghan and Harry walk along next to Frank Ross, Edinburgh's Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost, in the city today

Meghan and Harry walk along next to Frank Ross, Edinburgh's Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost, in the city today

The former Suits actress wore a Burberry coat, with trousers by Veronica Beard

The former Suits actress wore a Burberry coat, with trousers by Veronica Beard

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As the band of HM Royal Marines Scotland played outside the entrance to the castle, two young girls gave Harry a hand-made sign decorated with hearts and the couple's names – albeit with a slightly premature promotion for Ms Markle.

'It said, 'Princess Meghan and Prince Harry',' said Orlaidh Connors, 10, from Edinburgh. 'They both said thank you.' What did she think of Harry and Meghan? 'They're cool!' she said enthusiastically. 

Harry and his bride-to-be met well-wishers before heading inside the historic fortress to watch as the One O'clock Gun was fired, a tradition started in 1861 to mark time for ships in the Firth of Forth.

The couple ended the day at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they met the First Minister during a reception to celebrate the achievements of young people in Edinburgh The couple ended the day at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they met the First Minister during a reception to celebrate the achievements of young people in Edinburgh

The couple ended the day at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they met the First Minister during a reception to celebrate the achievements of young people in Edinburgh

The prince and his bride-to-be also met Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and were offered the services of a local band for their forthcoming wedding - if Ed Sheeran does not perform at the bash

The prince and his bride-to-be also met Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and were offered the services of a local band for their forthcoming wedding - if Ed Sheeran does not perform at the bash

First they had what one royal aide described as a 'five minute warm up' in the Governor's house before watching the firing of the gun. The loved-up couple adorably held hands as they strolled onto the ramparts to watch the 105 millimetre L118 Light Gun go off.

After a briefing from Sergeant Dave Beveridge, of the Royal Artillery, who fires it daily from Tuesday to Saturday, they put in ear defenders and waited for the blank to send a powerful explosion ringing out.

Sergeant Beveridge then pulled the still smoking 'cartridge case' - which had been packed with six ounces of gun powder from the chamber.

He said: 'I gave Prince Harry and Meghan a very brief history of the 1 o'clock gun and why it was still firing. Harry asked me about my history, so I told him I did 24 years in the army and then I got this job.

'He asked about the gun and where it's been - I was very conscious of the time though because the gun still does have to go off at 1pm. I was worried I'd have to stop talking.' 

Harry gets out of his car for a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today, for the royal couple's visit to Scotland

Harry gets out of his car for a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today, for the royal couple's visit to Scotland

Harry speaks to well-wishers at Edinburgh Castle Harry speaks to a royal fan and hands her back her Scottish flag

Harry speaks to a royal fan outside Edinburgh Castle and hands her back her Scottish flag (right)

Harry looks at a gift next to a young well-wisher outside Edinburgh Castle as the couple visit the Scottish capital today

Harry looks at a gift next to a young well-wisher outside Edinburgh Castle as the couple visit the Scottish capital today

Harry brings a smile to the face of his young well-wisher as the couple meet the people of Edinburgh outside the castle today

Harry brings a smile to the face of his young well-wisher as the couple meet the people of Edinburgh outside the castle today

Meghan is handed a gift by an admirer during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Meghan is handed a gift by an admirer during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

The couple's first stop first stop is at the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle today, where they are being welcomed

The couple's first stop first stop is at the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle today, where they are being welcomed

Harry holds a CD of harp music which he was given during the walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Harry holds a CD of harp music which he was given during the walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today

Two young women excitedly respond as Meghan talks to them outside Edinburgh Castle with Harry today

Two young women excitedly respond as Meghan talks to them outside Edinburgh Castle with Harry today

Meghan shakes the hand of a young admirer as she holds roses during a walkabout on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade today

Meghan shakes the hand of a young admirer as she holds roses during a walkabout on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade today

Pony 'claims Harry was teasing me' as Twitter account insists it was 'greeting' the Prince... not biting his hand 

Shetland pony Cruachan IV has its own Twitter account, and 'tweeted' today: 'Loved it, couldn't believe all these people came to see me! But was lovely to meet His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms Markle.'

When someone tweeted the account saying there was a 'shovel called into action' after he got 'stage fright', the account responded: 'If you could clean that up for me that would be great. I was too busy seeing my adoring public. Sorry, sir.'

And when it was put to the account that the pony was 'having a wee swipe of the Prince's hand', it replied: 'The Prince was teasing me, sir.' Asked if he bit Harry, it replied: 'Not at all, I was greeting Prince Harry.' 

The tradition dates back to 1861 and is intended to help ships in the Firth of Forth keep time. After the blast, Meghan and Harry chatted to cadets and their instructor. The US actress said: 'Scotland is wonderful.'

Instructor Colour Sergeant William Millar said: 'Meghan was saying how lovely Scotland was. It's the first visit she's been but she would like to come back. It's definitely a lovely place. She just said 'Scotland is wonderful'.' 

Una Mallon, a mother of four, 47, from Belfast, was excited as she tried to catch a glimpse of the couple. She said: 'We are expecting to see Meghan and Harry, we are so excited.

'My prediction is that Meghan is going to be our new Diana. A wee touch of Meghan adds a bit of sparkle. She's already working behind the scenes as she's doing secret visits.

'She is passionate about her causes and I think Harry and her are going to be the perfect team. I always have a soft spot for Kate and William but I think together the boys are doing a great job and their partners show great support. 

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Winter Olympics figure skaters Penny and Nick play 'Mr and Mrs'

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Tara and Johnny goof around during down time at the Olympics

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Jamie Anderson celebrates as she wins gold medal in Pyeongchang